NEW BEDFORD — Two years after consumers swapped office clothes for sweatpants and hoodies, students at UMass Dartmouth Star Store Campus prepare to present their visions of the future of fashion.
Later this month, second-grade students from The College of Visual and Performing Arts will showcase its custom apparel at an end-of-semester fashion show where models will walk the runway in the Dartmouth campus auditorium.
“The students really did some great things,” said Aleta Deyo, one of the CVPA’s fashion program teachers.
Freshmen and other upper class students are also allowed to participate in the show.
The event, titled “LIGHT + FASHION,” will also be surrounded by light vignettes created by students from the Architecture and Interior Design program. A festival of lights will also follow the event.
For this year’s fashion show, the students worked throughout the semester to develop their take on the “athleisure” trend – which has seen many professionals combine workout shorts with blazers as they held meetings from their homes.
“What the kids are exploring is how to bring these people back into fashion by combining comfort and style,” Deyo said.
The process begins with designing, sampling the materials that would work best for these outfits, and then assembling a final product.
The outfits are then reviewed by teachers and professionals so that students can make adjustments before the big show.
“Sometimes a concept or an idea may not be perfectly executed,” Deyo said. “By presenting the idea, you can learn, what is our raison d’être.”
Along with a bit of athleisure, show attendees can see their models showcase a collection of four to six outfits ranging from grunge-style knitwear to Met Gala-inspired dresses and edgy floral jackets.
Freshmen, on the other hand, work on simple kimonos while learning basic patterns and techniques.
“Kids here can experiment with a lot of different things or lean into whatever they want and be really imaginative with where they think fashion trends can go,” Deyo said. “There is room for everything.”
Sophomore Kaleb Reynolds said he used textured patterns to create an ensemble that would allow for greater self-expression with designs inspired by the 2008 Studio Ghibli “Ponyo” movie.
“Sometimes I feel like clothes don’t express people as much as they should,” he said.
Meanwhile, junior Ashley Clark is working on a five-piece workwear collection for women of color.
Her designs include the use of bright colors which she says would pair well with darker skin tones.
“I just want to use colors that make [people of color] feeling cool and confident,” she said.
Clark added that when the show takes place, her models will also wear natural hairstyles to support the law on creating a respectful and open world for natural hair. – which prohibits discrimination based on hair texture and hairstyles.
The bill passed the US House of Representatives last month and is now awaiting a vote in the Senate.
“It’s just hair,” Clark said. “Restricting it is not acceptable.”
Fifth year student Emily Aaron uses her passion for costume design to create a set of clothes based on a play she did about flowers in a Victorian garden.
“The Victorians had such a meaning for flowers – they even had their own language,” Aaron said. “Conveying these meanings through dresses and costumes will hopefully add a new layer and inspire people to think differently about flowers.”
In addition to making the outfits together on the second floor of the Star Store, Aaron said her home was also filled with fabrics and dyes she made on her own stove.
“It takes your whole life,” she said. “But when you like something, you don’t mind.”
The CVPA Fashion Show will take place April 30 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for the general public.
Tickets can be purchased cash at the door or online through the art school’s website. website.